On the morning of the 3rd of January, three people were brutally attacked while minding their own business and walking around the town of Dundalk. A Japanese man, Yosuke Sasaki was stabbed and killed while walking on the Avenue Road to get to his workplace, National Pen. Another man from Faughart was struck on the head with a fence pole after he got off a bus. He received treatment in Smyth’s Life Pharmacy nearby. Cian Murphy, an employee of National Tile in the retail park, was stabbed while walking to his workplace but is recovering in hospital. This timeline of events was put together by the Dundalk Democrat.
This seemingly random act of violence is certainly shocking. Many people have conflicting ideas about what the cause of this senseless violence was. Was it the crazed attack of a young man who is suffering a psychotic episode? According to The Irish Times and other local media outlets, the perpetrator was shouting “I am no gay”, “I am no Pakistani” and “I am no Muslim” in both English and Arabic. He was reportedly squatting in an abandoned house on the Avenue Road, close by to the attacks. He was in such a disturbed state when he was arrested he could not be interviewed or questioned.
Gardaí still have not established his nationality, although they believe he is named Mohamed Morei. He was recently refused asylum in the U.K., and was in the process of applying for asylum here. This raises some alarming questions. Why was an unaccompanied teenager, clearly in an agitated state, allowed to fly from a country where he was refused asylum and into another? He allegedly flew from Scotland to Belfast. This is the problem with how the U.K. treat Northern Ireland. While it is part of Britain, it is a separate island. Should travel to Belfast not be more strictly monitored? Especially considering that there is no hard border between Northern and Southern Ireland?
Morei was confronted by Gardaí before the attack and deemed unthreatening. We clearly need a better strategy when dealing with people entering the country as it is undeniable that if this individual had been detained these attacks would not have happened.
However, we must look at the bigger picture. Gardaí have ruled that Morei had no links to international terrorism, and ISIS have yet to claim this attack. Morei is only 18 years old and was living in squalor in a seemingly random border town. Dundalk would be an unusual target for a terrorist attack, due to its small size, close proximity to the border and its history with the IRA and the Troubles. Dundalk has seen its fair share of violence. I am from Dundalk and I recall the murder of Irene White, I remember the two Guards who were killed while on duty, Adrian Donohoe and Tony Golden, both murdered with guns. So, to the people who are saying “stuff like this just doesn’t happen here”, yes it does. Immigration is not the only factor in violent crimes.
I think a lot of people are jumping on the fact that this man is reportedly from Egypt, and in their mind this proves it is a terrorist incident. Does this show how people’s internal prejudices are coming to light? Only this summer, a man was stabbed with a machete in Dundalk. Machetes are often used in ISIS propaganda videos. But because the suspect wasn’t brown, no one labelled this as a terrorist attack. It is interesting how we as a society label certain crimes as randomly violent and others as terrorist in nature.
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